Chang Tso-lin (Zhang Zuolin) 張作霖

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.Chang Tso-linMarshal Chang Tso-lin was born in Fengtien Province, in 1876. He received no education in his youth, but his bravery and initiative distinguished him and singled him out to be a powerful leader. During the Russo-Japanese War, Marshal Chang fought on the side of Japan, and rendered no small service to the Mikado. A few years later he was promoted to be Commander of the Fengtien Defence Force in China, in which capacity he rendered valuable service in the maintenance of peace and order throughout the Manchurian Provinces during the revolution in 1911-1912.

After the establishment of the Republic, in 1912, Marshal Chang was made Lieutenant-General and Commander of the Twenty-seventh Division of the National Army. He served His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai faithfully until the monarchical movement was about to collapse, when he compelled General Tuan Chi-kuei, who as then Civil and Military Governor of Fengtien, and supporter of the movement, to leave Fengtien.

He was made a Chiangchun; and in 1911 was appointed Acting Director-General of Military Affairs for Fengtien. On July 6th, 1916, Marshal Chang became Military and Civil Governor of the same province. He assisted the former Premier, Tuan Chi-jui, in restoring the Republic for the second time, in June 1917, when it was overthrown by General Chang Hsun. In 1918, Marshal Chang was appointed High Inspecting Commissioner of the Three Eastern Provinces, still holding the position of Military and Civil Governor of Fengtien.

In October 1919, Marshal Chang was awarded the First Order of Merit. In January 1920, he was made a full General, in recognition of services rendered in connection with the participation in the European War. In February 1920, he was given the First Order of Tashou Paokuang Chiaho.

As a result of the opposition of the “Tuchuns”, Parliament, and Anfu leaders who were in power, President Hsu Shih-chang, on July 9th ordered Marshal Wu Pei-fu to be dismissed and be deprived of all ranks and honors. Marshal Tsao Kun was also censured. Both men accepted the challenge, and, in co-operation with Marshal Chang Tso-lin undertook the forcible removal of the Anfu Party. The power of the Anfu leaders collapsed after a few engagements. On October 10th, 1920, General Chang was made a Marshal, and in the following year was appointed High Commissioner for Mongolia with full power to reconquer Urga, which was then in the hands of Soviet Russians.

During the latter part of 1921, Marshal Chang again went to Peking to adjust matters to his own satisfaction; and the result was the installation of the Liang Shih-yi Cabinet on December 24th, 1921. In March 1922, Marshal Chang was awarded the First Order of Wenhu. During the winter of 1921-1922, a military and political coalition, with Marshal Chang as the leader, was organized with the avowed purpose of eliminating Marshal Wu Pei-fu. The result of their invasion was a war in the vicinity of Tientsin and Peking. Hostilities opened on April 19th, 1922, and lasted until May 4th; when Marshal Chang’s troops, in the west of Peking were defeated, and then returned to Mukden Since this defeat, Marshal Chang has ruled Manchuria independent of Peking, appointing himself Commander-in-Chief of the forces for the maintenance of order and peace, and having approximately 100,000 men under his command.

In November 1924, after the outbreak of hostilities between the Kiangsu Chekiang Province, the Chihli forces under the command of Marshal Wu Pei-fu made another attempt to regain control of Manchuria; but Marshal Chang Tso-lin’s forces succeeded in routing the enemy completely, which resulted in President Tsao Kun and the entire Chihli Party being forced out of power. Later, in co-operation with General Feng Yu-hsiang and others, he induced Marshal Tuan Chi-jui to assume control of the Government as Provisional Chief Executive.

Chang Tso-lin text

A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 28.